Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Creative Vibe

I have been working on my piece for the Dia de los Meurtos Art Trade at ARGH.

I love how this day is a celebration of those who have died. It's not mourning, but celebration. How wonderful to spend a day celebrating the wonderful lives of people we have loved that are now dead.

My only experience with death was 4 years ago. A close friend, who was my age, died from cancer. I remember one night talking to her, when the latest chemo treatment had failed and she was struggling to figure out what to do next, she told me she just wanted her life to have meant something. She wanted to know there was a reason for her suffering and ultimately her death.

Her life did mean something. Her life was a beacon for those of us who were too busy getting stuff done to notice another day had passed. She is a constant reminder to me to live my life in love with every day, to take advantage of my health, my children, my husband, my take advantage of all that I have.

Elizabeth was a chef, an artist, a professional snowboarder, and an inspiration to all of us who were privileged to know her. I can't wait to celebrate all that she was, and all that she still means to me on Nov. 2.

So my art for the trade is a celebration of her. I had so much fun and was so inspired, I created several pieces instead of just the one for the trade. Thankfully, a couple of my kids have already staked their claim on the remaining pieces!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Passions

We tend to walk away with some powerful things after a L&L conference. Sometimes it's a new passion, sometimes it's life-changing awareness.

Both happened this year. I'm working on quieting my "chatter" and being fully present with the kids. Thanks to Anne Ohman, over at Shine with Unschooling, I'm learning how to tell myself to be quiet...a very hard thing for me to do!

I also got to reconnect with Christina, or Auntie Nina. Although we see each other on a pretty regular basis, this weekend at L&L allowed us to share so much more and revisit a close friendship we shared years ago. Nina inspires me with her incredible optimism and deep love for my kids. We all feel extremely lucky to have her in our lives.

Ella went home with the cake decorating passion we have made several batches of icing, colored some very crazy colors. She decorated sheets of wax paper first, to get the hang of things. Then she decorated her first cake. She immediately asked anyone else if they wanted to have a use the bag and decorate. It was so sweet, and showed her very generous heart.

Sophie loved basking in all her friends at L&L. She has had nothing but soft-clothes days since getting back home. Soft clothes are also affectionately known as life clothes...or pajamas to the uninspired! Her soft clothes included the gorgeous wool socks Pam G. gave her at the L&L good bye picnic. Pam had been knitting these socks throughout the conference, so it was an extra special gift to Sophie, as it is a reminder of our wonderful time there. Sophie also won a dragon ocarina in the raffle, and has been trying to learn Zelda tunes on it. She spent all day yesterday, in her soft clothes, working on a supply list for an arctic expedition...Swallows and Amazons style. She's reading Winter Holiday, and is inspired by the cooling temps.

Max won Pokemon Pearl in the raffle and has been gloriously achieving great things in his game. I think one of Max's highlights at L&L was meeting Amy Steinberg and then grooving to her tunes at the concert. During the concert, Amy called Max out because of his amazing dancing. He was shining so bright! The next day, as Amy was leaving, she told Max she had a crush on him. The boy is positively floating!

Alex has been sleeping in late and constantly glorifying in all our good food. He made some new friends at the conference and has been emailing one of them since setting up his own email account. He is loving learning the texting lingo...of which I am no great help. After the conference, Eli Gerzon, who was a speaker, posted about a wilderness camp in upstate New York called Hawk Circle. I remembered looking into Hawk Circle over a year ago, but nothing ever came of it. Anyway, with the reminder from Eli, I checked out the website and lo and behold they are having a Teen Homeschooler Retreat...this October! Well, things fell in place rather quickly, and Alex is going to get to go. I can't even describe what this trip means to him. He has wanted to explore wilderness training, hunting, shelter building, tracking, for a long time. He does it on a small scale around our home, but he has expressed an interest in taking it further. Well, this is it. I am so happy to be able to help him follow his passions. In addition, this will be the first time he has ever traveled alone, or done anything really without us, his family, around for support. This is huge, as Alex really loves being with his family and all of us doing things together. I think this is an incredible opportunity for him to grow and gain a bit of the independence he has started wanting in a safe, caring environment.

And we still have ARGH to look forward to....more passions shared, more friendships strengthened, more unschoolers to connect with and gain inspiration from.

Absolutely can't wait!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Post Live and Learn

This conference was amazing in so many ways. I felt so peaceful, exactly where I needed to be. As I looked at my last post, I was struck by the fact that everything I mentioned as being really important to us, happened. What I was not expecting was to fall in love with more beautiful souls than I ever felt was possible. I was touched by the kindness, generosity, and sheer joy I felt in such plentitude at the conference. I did not capture everything I wanted in pictures. I wish I had. I was so busy enjoying the moment, I forgot to capture it. Then, I would remember, take a flurry of pictures for a particular event, and promptly forget again. I am so grateful for Kelly Lovejoy and her family for making this event such a huge part of our lives. I am thankful for the amazing people I have been introduced to and have become such dear friends with. I am most especially and powerfully thankful for the amazing voices in this unschooling community that have helped me be a better parent.

Amy Steinburg Concert

The Time-Space Warp Elevator

Icing Funshop

Maria's Amazing Henna

Make Up Funshop -Ms. Vania,(kmmm...Kyra) I did not reveal your secret with a picture!

Talent Show Pictures...I was way too entrasnced to capture all the talent that I was honored to witness. Truly, a highlight of any Live and Learn for me is the Talent Show. Sadly, I only snapped out of my rapture momentarily to capture a few acts.

The talent show would not be possible without the audience...


I wasn't able to capture her during her act, so I took this after, in the room, where she was still doing gymnastics!

Friends..but only a token sample of the amazing friends I know because of L&L!

The Masquerade Ball

The Coffee House

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Live and Learn Bound

We've been busy getting all organized and packed up for our trip to the last Live and Learn Unschooling Conference. The kids have been working on embroidered pillows to sell at the Untrepreneurial Fair. I know I am biased, but they are gorgeous. The caught the embroidery bug about 2 weeks ago, and have been at it ever since.

Alex did mainly dragons, but designed a Japanese Bonsai Tree for the big one

Sophie's did all hearts with either initials, names, or L&L 08 inside

Max designed all flowers, with really cool swirl leaves

Of the many things we are looking forward to at this year's conference:

  • Talent Show (Max and I are doing a duet-hip hop and belly dance; Ella is doing a contemporary dance solo; Alex will be the MC; and Sophie has plans to play the fiddle and dance with some friends.)

  • Masquerade Ball - Our costumes are top secret...will post pictures later

  • Funshops: Henna Tattoos, Embroidery, Bionicles, Cake Decorating, DS, Friendship Bracelets, Cootie Catchers, Mask Decorating, Games, ATCs, etc.

  • Being with Friends

  • Having Auntie Nina with us this year